Storm, high tides may spell trouble Street flooding, Folly erosion likely

Erosion has taken much of the beach and dunes at Folly Beach County park . ( Leroy Burnell/Staff) 10/15/2012

Surf’s up. Some downtown streets might flood. And erosion might rake the flattened Folly Beach County Park — again.

A combination of periodic, moon-swollen high tides and Hurricane Rafael far offshore is expected to bring higher waves, rip currents, some erosion and a decent chance of isolated or minor flooding downtown in the usual spots.

Morning high tides are expected to be worse, forecasters say. That tide today is about 9 a.m.

“It’s the next couple of morning tides (today and Wednesday) we have to keep an eye on,” meteorologist Julie Packett with the National Weather Service in Charleston said Monday.

The storm is too far away to push any more than small swells this way, and a cold front working offshore will bring winds helping to knock down surf, she said.

Surfers, though, think at least chest-high surf should start rolling today. Bates Hagood, of Ocean Surf Shop on Folly Beach, adjusted his schedule to get some time on the board.

The surf might be “nothing crazy,” he said, but “it’s on its way.”

The Charleston County Park and Recreation beach park at Folly has been closed all year. Much of its former dunescape is gone, walkways and offices are stranded in the surf, and storm tides now wash the parking lot into the marsh behind.

More of the popular park disappears with each wash. Erosion also threatens other properties along the beachfront.

“Hopefully, we don’t get too hurt the next few days,” said Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin, who has pushed for beach renourishment. “But it looks like the surfers are expecting to have some fun, and that’s not too good for us as far as erosion control.”